Characterization of peroxisomes in glucose-grown Hansenula polymorpha and their development after the transfer of cells into methanol-containing media

Research paper by M. Veenhuis, I. Keizer, W. Harder

Indexed on: 01 Feb '79Published on: 01 Feb '79Published in: Archives of Microbiology


Cells of Hansenula polymorpha growing exponentially on glucose generally contained a single peroxisome of small dimension, irregular in shape and located in close proximity to the cell wall. Crystalline inclusions in the peroxisomal matrix were not observed. Associations of the organelles with one or more strands of endoplasmic reticulum were evident. In stationary phase cells the size of the peroxisomes had increased considerably. They were more cubical in form and showed a partly or completely crystalline matrix.After the transfer of cells growing exponentially on glucose into media containing methanol, large peroxisomes with a partly crystalline matrix developed in the cells within 6 h. These organelles originated from the small peroxisomes in the glucose-grown cells. De novo synthesis of peroxisomes was not observed. Prolonged cultivation in the presence of methanol resulted in a gradual increase in the number of peroxisomes by means of separation of small peroxisomes from mature organelles. During growth of peroxisomes associations with the endoplasmic reticulum remained evident.The increase in volume density of peroxisomes in stationary phase cells grown on glucose and in methanol-grown cells was accompanied by the synthesis of the peroxisomal enzymes alcohol oxidase and catalase. Cytochemical staining techniques revealed that alcohol oxidase activity was only detected when the peroxisomes contained a crystalloid inclusion. Since in peroxisomes of an alcohol oxidase-negative mutant of Hansenula polymorpha crystalline inclusions were never detected, it is concluded that the development of crystalloids inside peroxisomes is due to the accumulation of alcohol oxidase in these organelles.